Animals of the world, Pika

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Pika (640x456)

  • Pikas are found in the mountains of western North America and much of Asia
  • Pikas are most commonly identified by their small, rounded body, short limbs, rounded ears, and lack of tail. They resemble their close cousin the rabbit, but with shorter ears
  • Their fur is long and soft and is generally greyish-brown in colour, although a few species are rusty red
  • Most species live on rocky mountainsides, where there are numerous crevices in which to shelter, although some pikas also construct crude burrows. A few burrowing species are native to open Steppe land
  • Pikas forage for grasses, seeds, weeds, thistles, and berries during the hours of daylight.
  • In the autumn, they pull hay, soft twigs and other stores of food into their burrows to eat during the long, cold winter. Pikas do not hibernate
  • Unlike rabbits and hares, pikas are active during the day, with the exception of the nocturnal steppe pikas
  • Pikas have distinct calls that vary in duration. The call can either be short and quick, a little longer and more drawn out, or they can be songs
  • Being largely alpine, most pikas are adapted to living in cold environments and cannot tolerate heat. When temperatures are high, they confine their activity to early morning and late afternoon.
  • The average lifespan in pikas is roughly seven years in the wild

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